At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Trisha Lewis

 

 

We had a chat with Trisha Lewis who founded her own Communication Coaching business to discuss what it takes to be a leader and what the big fear of public speaking is all about.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your ‘title’?

 

Trisha: Trisha Lewis – Communication Coach – my own business – just me!

 

RISE: A ‘Communication Coach’ can you describe to us what this entails and what a normal day in the life of Trisha looks like?

 

Trisha: I help people communicate better! That’s a bit simplistic I guess – but it is the ultimate goal.  That might mean communicating better with themselves, their team or their audience. Communication is a foundational skill and once you start unpacking what it involves, well – it’s a fascinating gift to unwrap!

There is no such thing as a normal day – which kind of suits me! I have developed good multi-tasking skills and I have a fair bit of energy – even at my age!  I am constantly curious and like the aspect of my work which involves meeting so many fascinating people as well as finding ways to communicate with and grow my network. I rarely say no to an opportunity to get to know someone or brainstorm a possible collaboration.  Oh – and I am also writing a book!  All this means my days have a pretty random quality to them.

However – I do try and put a little structure around the randomness.  If I have a day with no client coaching sessions or company workshops/talks etc… then I will often start early by walking down to my favourite coffee shop – laptop in bag.  I like to work with a little buzz around me rather than silence.  I will then make sure I do at least 30 minutes of business development before getting stuck into blog writing, social media engagement or book writing.

Then there will be days when I have clients coming to my home based office for coaching or I am going out to deliver talks or workshops to groups and organisations. Oh – and some days that mean a very early start or evening trip out for a networking event!

 

RISE: We’ve chatted in the past about this but can you outline what Imposter Syndrome is and how you begin to tackle this?

 

Trisha: I will share with you the definition I give in the introduction of the book I am currently writing!

A nagging feeling of self-doubt that feels real but does not stand up to scrutiny. A feeling that you are on the outside looking in but ‘they’ all have the right to be there. A feeling that if you do not work very hard at being loved, clever and perfect – you will be thrown out into the wilderness by a jeering crowd of haters who have discovered just how useless, bad (or both) you ‘really’ are. A feeling that when people do praise you – they are going to regret it as soon as you leave the room or put the phone down.

 I could delve deep here – but hey – I want people to buy the book!  Having said which I do give a lot of free tips in the various blog posts and videos I share!

In brief – you tackle it by getting real! You equip yourself with a good dose of knowledge about what it is – and what the symptoms and consequences are – and then you use some tactics that involve pressing pause between feelings and actions, talking with others to reveal that you are not alone and ‘bigging yourself up’!

There is no cure – it is not an illness! What you do is become more aware of the signs and quicker at pressing pause!  Again – much more in the book – or for now on my YouTube channel (plug!)

 

RISE: Why do you think that public speaking is such a huge fear for so many of us?

 

Trisha: Ah – again I could go on! So I will try to keep this brief…

Actually I used to be very shy when I was younger – belief it or not!  They do say a lot of actors have a shy streak!

The fear is the same as any kind of fear – fear is a powerful force for all us humans! We are wired to see the negative – it is a survival tool that can get triggered off in an unhelpful way these days! There are rarely sabre-toothed tigers to watch out for.  It is a mind-body thing – and it is far worse when you keep sending signals to your brain that you are afraid – because then your body responds even more – and a viscous cycle is set up!

The main tactic involves getting ‘out of your head’! You need to be present – remember that it is about them not you – and they are not out to get you!

Our biggest fear is often fear of rejection and fear of judgement – again down to ancient wiring! If you acknowledge what is going on and get rational about the reality of the situation (no tigers) you calm you body and brain down!

I also think people get hung up on an idea that they must be like someone else – some version of a good speaker that they have in their head – but isn’t them! The more you try to be like someone else the worse the fear gets.

You also need to be at one with your content – plenty of preparation and a sense of excitement about what you are delivering.

Again – loads of tips on my YouTube channel (did I already mention this?!)

 

RISE: As a member of a community like YATM, do you think these ‘safe spaces’ give a platform for those that wouldn’t normally want to speak or share knowledge?

 

Trisha: Definitely!  I love spaces like YATM.  As the host of events like this it is crucial to create an atmosphere where people realise that no question is daft!

 

RISE: How useful is communication and the understanding of this in the marketing and PR world?

 

Trisha: Massively useful!  Maybe I would say that – but it is true. There are 2 particularly crucial aspects to good communication that are needed for marketing and PR – connection and clarity.  Connection involves resonating with your audience and building trust – and clarity involves the audience being able to ‘get’ your message and know what to do next!

 

RISE: What path have you taken to get you to where you are today? What advise would you give to someone else looking to do something similar?

 

Trisha: Wow! I am old! I won’t give you my life story!  In brief – I have embraced life – the good and the bad.  I have never stopped wanting to learn and I am curious!  When things felt wrong – I changed them and when things felt too comfortable – I took up new challenges!

Whilst I had a number of different mini careers and the job of bringing up a family – I had a constant passion for acting.  It was my career as a professional actor (theatre not TV!) that led me along a random path to various connected opportunities – all involving masses of communication and trust building skills!  I built a good reputation as a speaker on a ‘non-business’ circuit – but decided I wanted to rise to the challenge of using my combined skills and experience in the business world. Just under 3 years ago I took the plunge and up my coaching business. What a learning curve!

I had to be prepared to keep pushing myself over the obstacles and not retreat! I also had to rewire my brain a bit – blending the creative with the business/sales side of things – not easy!

The main constant throughout has been my instinct that offering value, listening and relationship building would be the most effective way to grow – and I am glad to say my instinct was correct.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Josh Rhodes

Bournemouth University Student 

  

We asked Josh a few questions about moving on to full time employment after universities and the things that set graduates apart.

 

 

 

Rise: As a student coming to the end of your placement year, how are you now feeling about stepping into the world of work when you graduate?

 

Josh: Placement has been a fantastic opportunity for me because it opened my eyes to the student “bubble” of safety, and how when working in a full time job with real responsibilities and consequences there is a large amount of responsibility on your shoulders, and everything you do has an impact on the job and the industry you work in. Now that I’ve had a chance to push myself to my limits and really sink my teeth into challenging and diverse briefs, it’s given me a massive confidence boost to know that with some intuition and research there’s always a different perspective you can approach work in your career.

 

Rise: For those that haven’t had placement years, do you think trying to get a job after university is a growing battle?

 

Josh: I think the growing need for qualifications and experience as a base standard of work in many industries has made it very difficult to get a job straight out of university. Many companies offer entry level roles with a requirement of at least 3 – 4 years of industry experience, and this creates a difficult situation for a student fresh out of university that even with a sandwich year in their course would have 1 year of industry experience to their name. On the positive side, the rapid growth of the tech industry provides us with many options for specialisation, which can help give us a leg up in getting a job more tailored to individual skill even if we didn’t have a placement, especially in the marketing industry where Data and AI are so huge right now and in demand.

 

Rise: When speaking to employers have you found that they are more looking for people with experience over a degree?

 

Josh: ​I find it really depends on the employer, when I’ve been job-hunting on the more corporate side a degree is almost a “minimum requirement” like having A levels, but the level of experience is what sets you apart from the other candidates. On the other hand on agency side many agencies weren’t really preoccupied with what Degree I had or what grade I achieved it to, but more on my level of experience and portfolio of work. Generally it seems in the current job landscape the degree is more of a “right to participate” than any guarantee of a job or certification of skill.

 

Rise: Do you think part of the problem is that students don’t always take the opportunities that are on offer at university/college? Or do you think universities should be doing more to support students?

 

Josh: University is a very tricky balance to achieve for many people. Everyone comes to university with a different level of maturity both mentally and emotionally, and university is the place where you “find your feet” as an adult and learn to be independent and self-sufficient, I’ve seen friends learning to cook fantastic meals by second year and friends still having their parents deliver frozen meals weekly. University is definitely what you make of it, and there are a plethora of opportunities out there that if you get involved with can be a ton of fun and also great CV foundations.

For the student that gives his all to making the most of university, a million doors open for them and the sky is the limit, but it would be nice to see that the students that perhaps have had to spend more time learning their life skills and preparing themselves for the rest of adult life, would get a bit more support from the universities in tackling such a huge task.

 

Rise: Could the business communities local to universities be doing more to connect and collaborate with students?

 

Josh: ​I think that students are one of the most vastly untapped resources available to local businesses. Students are often desperate for experience, and I have seen many fantastically talented students going to waste because local businesses have had very little interaction to try and find students or engage with them to see what skill set they could offer. I also think that engaging students on this level could actually be massively beneficial in keeping highly talented potential employees in your business, as you may snag a fantastic student grad who may have otherwise applied for a larger or more high profile job elsewhere.

 

Rise: What skills in particular do you think equip you for the working world?

 

Josh: ​I really think that adaptability is one of the most useful skills you can take with you into a job role. The ability to assess each new project objectively and with a positive attitude is invaluable in ensuring whatever role you take on you can lend yourself well to doing it, and most employers find a graduate who can mould themselves to specific tasks is much better than one that can only specialise in a single area. The other core skill that is essential is communication. So many people are afraid to speak out when they feel a little out of their depth, or too shy to challenge a decision or thought process when made by management or upper levels, but businesses find huge value in clear communication, and with a good communication skill set you can find yourself working on some pretty high profile projects thanks to the level of trust built.

 

Rise: What are your plans post university?​

 

Josh: Right now the plans post uni are to try my best to find a graduate job that helps me work towards my long term goal of being the brand manager or community manager in the games industry, so right now the plan is to try and get some experience overseas as an intern to enjoy a bit of travelling while gaining experience at the same time.

 

Why Should We Hire You? Being a successful candidate requires more than just ticking the boxes.

In a world where copy and paste has become our best friend, many of us find ourselves taking the easy route when filling job applications. Rather than sell our personalities, we jot down our experience and prioritise qualifications over charisma.

But, our interests and differences can be what employers are looking for.

 

The Things That Make You Different Can Be A Path To Employment

Whilst having essential skills should not be overlooked, many of these allow you to be compared to others. Having a CV that says ‘competence in Word, Excel and Outlook’ is a thing of the past according to Angela Piromalli, MD of Rise. It isn’t what employers are only seeking any more:

“Those areas we don’t even look at. We pick up the phone and speak to people, as its unique things about them and how they connect with us that gets them the job.

“It’s about looking past their skill-set, and looking at the person.”

Selling your personality can give you a wildcard advantage above the rest of the pack. Character should not be overlooked, as the ability to fit into a team and get along with other people is what pushes you into top roles, a mantra Angela strongly agrees with. You can have all the skills in the world, but if your personality doesn’t suit you will fall short of success.

Emphasising accomplishments that no one else has is one way to stand out from the busy crowd. If you highlight the things you have done that go beyond the expected, employers take an interest. Angela commented,

“Those accomplishments are hugely important to us. They reflect who you are and your interests as a person, and the sooner employees recognise this the better.

“You need specialised skills to survive in life, but it is the other well rounded skills that make you employable. For instance, many companies participate in charity work because we’re running our businesses as people. This reflects more than just a professional competence.”

 

Interests & Personalities Push Us All Through

Having other passions and drives that keep us going is not just something the professional sector benefit from. As human beings, we thrive in more than just one aspect of life. If all we cared about was gaining traditional employable skills, life would be pretty flat. It is our other attributes that put us ahead, in relationships, work and play. Humans appreciate human attributes.

Being head coach of a sports team means you can commit to something, you’re resilient and can show leadership skills. These things link together and show you’re more than someone who can work with Excel.

Even if you do not think your skills are relevant in the workplace, you might surprise yourself. Non tangible skills like being outgoing and having a strong social group can indicate your strength in communication, teamwork and meeting new clients.

 

Is There An Ideal Candidate?

Deciding on the perfect candidate can be a tall order. It is difficult to put into a box what attributes you are seeking in an employee, but upon meeting someone you might realise they are the right person to fit into your business.

Laura Coombes, our Recruitment Consultant knows how different people can make the seamless team, without there being a “perfect” example of the dream client:

“It is so hard to put your finger on what people look for. Actually speaking to someone and understanding their aura in the way they seem to you is what’s important.

“We have noticed people having two different CV’s, adapting them for the specific role they are applying for. One had work experience whilst the other had out-of-hours accomplishments, and they seem like two different people. It is better to combine to create one rounded individual.”

 

The Solid Interview Experience

When we look at unsuccessful candidates, a few common mistakes often crop up. Laura finds people often fail to research the company and job they are applying for, which would have given them a massive advantage in fitting what we are looking for:

“People want to employ someone who wants to work for them, rather than people who just want any job. And the candidate knowing about the job and asking us questions back makes them stand out.”

Being you in an interview is your strongest asset. Even if one job doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you failed. Why would you work for a company that doesn’t suit you either?

If you go in, read the room and give the best interview you have got, whilst completely being yourself, you have nothing to regret. Having a bit of bravado and pushing yourself up doesn’t mean you are deceiving anyone either. ‘Bigging yourself up’ can go a very long way.

Similarly, not hiding charity work can and will work to your advantage, so don’t be embarrassed to share things about yourself which may not seem job-related at first glance.

So, what’s the icing on the cake when thinking of the ideal employee? According to Angela, experience can sometimes be overrated:

“If someone walked in here now and they knew what was expected of them, with the right attitude and the right values regardless of their experience I would take them on within a heartbeat. It is that spark someone has in their eyes.”

 

Let’s Sum Up For You

Times are changing in the way you sell yourself, both in interviews and on your CV.

Employers are valuing personable traits above all else, and finding the perfect combination of personality and skillset can propel you into the job market as a hot commodity.

In our field of recruitment, it comes down to your other assets which make you stand out.

Skills can be learnt, but character is something to be prioritised above all else. The person you are allows you to get a job, so let it stand out.